Our History

Humble Beginnings

St. Patrick's (St. Pat's) parish was established in 1917, and was initially housed in a small structure. The original small frame building, built for $1,200 in late 1917 near Boylston and Miller. The first baby was baptized January 27, 1918, the first marriage celebrated on January 29, 1918 and the first funeral was April 14, 1918. In 1923 the parish built a larger brick building at Harvard Avenue N and E Lynn Street to house both church and a parish school. For nearly 50 years our parish was guided and taught primarily by immigrant Irish priests: Pastors Michael O'Dwyer (1917-1921), Aloysius McHugh, born in Buckley, WA to Irish parents (1921-1942), Michael Murtaugh (1942-1966), William Treacy (1966-1971), and many associate pastors.

The parish struggled, as did the entire country, with the financial challenges of the Depression and the sacrifices called for by World War II. The Irish priests helped with the these challenges by their legendary frugality, and hard times bound the parish together. St. Pat's grew in size during World War II, likely due to increased wartime production of ships and airplanes, as well as an increased military presence in the Seattle area. Following the war birthrates soared nationwide, and the parish was no exception. Extra large families became commonplace again, and in 1953 alone, 59 baptisms were held at St. Pat's.

In 1959 parishioners celebrated mass for the last time at its home on Harvard and Lynn: it lay directly in the path of I-5 construction. The freeway cut through the St. Patrick's parish, costing some 200 parishioners their homes. The parish was now divided in two, and not long after, it was bisected again with the construction of the Evergreen Point Bridge (Highway 520). Because of this St. Pat's was slated to be merged with one of the neighboring parishes. Fortunately, the parishioners, although small in number, raised sufficient funds to build a new church, and the parish was able to secure four houses and a vacant lot here in the Roanoke neighborhood. St. Patrick's was officially dedicated on July 23, 1961 by Archbishop Thomas Connolly.Throughout the next thirty or so years, the parish grew rapidly as new families with several children moved into the areas immediately surrounding the church, resulting in a weekend Mass attendance of about 1,200.

Growing Through Change

Following Vatican II St. Pat's parishioners experience enormous changes in their ways of life. A new church was built but ways of worship changed dramatically. The church became far less geographic, much more a destination church. Parishioners were encouraged to take a more active role and share ideas and responsibilities. But in the 80s, for a variety of reasons, parishioners began to move out of this area, especially to the suburbs, and eventually, the mass count on Sunday fell.  Again, it was faced with possible amalgamation with one of the neighboring parish. In spite of all that, St. Pat’s continued to survive in its own unique way--not only just to survive but to flourish. Mostly, this was due to the fact that so many of its former parishioners who had moved away continued to retain their membership here and returned for Eucharist on Sunday mornings. In the meantime, it continued to maintain its more progressive, Vatican II approach to the faith and, in fact, maintains that attitude even today. When people come here on a Sunday morning, they expect to find that spirit and are not slow to complain if they do not find it here. In other words, they are here because of who we are.

Active Parishioners Make St. Patrick’s a Special Community

St. Patrick thrives because of our committed members. Parishioners are actively involved in our Sunday eucharistic celebrations, in comforting the suffering, in forming others in faith, in care of our facilities, in leadership, and in community social events.

We take seriously our Christian vocation to reach out to those in need. Financially through our parish tithe and through volunteer efforts, we support several outreach programs, including a sister parish program in El Salvador, a home in our neighborhood for formerly homeless women and a St. Vincent de Paul conference.

Join Us!

St. Patrick’s is a welcoming and affirming faith community, and we invite you to join us in Sunday worship. The music is lively and prayerful, the Word of God is powerfully proclaimed, and the community is warm and friendly. Every Sunday the 10:00am mass is sign-language interpreted.

 

"Being part of a small group who cares deeply about creating beautiful liturgies that can engage and invite the Spirit to be present and transform lives in eah liturgical season has been a blessing in my life." ~ S.B